So this is tough one. I just finished speaking with former Congressman Jason Altmire. He has written a new book that I really hope you read. It captures exactly what most of us hope for, but also seems like a ridiculous long shot at the moment: That somehow our divided country will come together around policy and politics.
Congressman Altmire’s new book is "Dead Center: How Political Polarization Divided America, and What We Can Do About It."
Some background: From 2007-13, Altmire represented PA’s 4th district – that’s in the south-central part of the state. However, he lost his seat when it got redistricted for the 2012 vote. While in Congress, Altmire practiced what he preached – at one point the National Journal calculated his voting record to be at the exact midpoint of the House -- the Dead Center -- giving him the most centrist voting record in Congress.
Altmire argues that’s part of what did him in – but it’s also our way out of this mess.
As I said, it’s a tough one. In a world of repeal & replace and delayed Puerto Rico hurricane relief and NFL national anthem divide and travel bans and tax cut debate and false “both sides” parallelism and rampant “Whataboutism” and Presidential popular votes don’t align with electoral vote results – I could keep going – there doesn’t seem to be an immediate path for the center to rise.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t discuss it. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be really clear about what got us into this mess and what it might take to get us out.
That’s what former Congressman Altmire has done with his book, and as you’ll hear, that’s what he does in his conversation with me.
Before we begin though, I want to repeat an ask that I’ve been making on these podcasts – from me to you: I hope you like these conversations. If so, I’d appreciate if you’d take a moment, go to iTunes, and, if you’re so moved, leave a 5-star review. The ratings really matter. As always though, if you don’t like the conversations, please forget I ever mentioned it.
That’s it. Here’s my conversation with former Congressman Jason Altmire.